Monday, 9 November 2009

Rollercoaster week two in Melbourne

I have lots to report from the week since my last blog entry – and mostly good news! We started the week with our fingers crossed that we would secure our chosen apartment by the beach. We spoke to the agent on Monday to check our application had been received, and were told we’d have to wait until Wednesday for an answer. With Tuesday being a public holiday in Melbourne, lots of workers had taken Monday off to make a long weekend and no decision would be made on the property.

To take our minds off the wait and occupy us during the bank holiday, we booked a day trip out of the city to see some of Victoria’s finest wildlife! In a very long 15 hour trip, we ticked the following animal experiences off the list – feeding bird seed to wild parrots, riding puffing billy (that’s a train, not an animal, but I’m counting it anyway!), bottle-feeding some very hungry calves, milking a dairy cow, getting up close with baby kangaroos, photographing some koalas and (the best bit) watching the little penguins race up the beach to their burrows to meet their babies, then watching them feed in the dead of night. It was an amazing day, and I’ve posted some photos below:

Hmmmmm... steak?

Hmmm..... steak?!

Now I udder-stand where milk comes from!

Diet coke break

A hot bird, and Katie

Tom had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand

Wednesday was D-Day and during a shopping trip we took the fateful call to tell us that we didn’t get the apartment. I was so disappointed that I lost all desire to shop (ie very very disappointed!). We went straight back to the hotel to get back onto the internet and re-commence our search. By this point we’d view every available 2 or 4 bedroom apartment in a mile radius of our preferred location, but luckily a couple of new properties had been uploaded after the bank holiday and so there was a light shining on the horizon. We scheduled three viewings (or inspections, as they are called here) for the Friday morning, and crossed our fingers. When Friday morning rolled around, Tom loved the first flat we saw, but I loved the second. As the X-Factor would describe it, we were in deadlock. We had three hours to kill until the third and final viewing and not many words were uttered between us!

The final viewing was for a furnished flat at the top end of our budget, in a modern block on the main street of Port Melbourne. When Tom and I walked through the door, we both knew that it was the place for us, and 30 minutes later we had applied and been accepted by the agent! It’s a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment with 180 degree views of the coast. As it’s furnished, it will save us a lot of hassle fitting out, which in Australia requires a tenant to provided their own white goods also.

Unfortunately the flat is not available until 1st December, which left us having to find three weeks of accommodation. In an unhopeful plea to our real estate agent, she surprisingly offered us three weeks in a very smart studio flat in Melbourne’s lively St Kilda. It was the perfect solution and so we jumped at the chance. Two days later we had moved in, and it’s turned out to be a fantastic location – just a bit further down the coast than our more permanent home will be.

After the success of Friday, we were on a high and Saturday was another great day. Tom and I were invited to join my PwC-Melbourne colleague Matt, his wife and their friends at Stakes Day of the Melbourne Cup – the final day in the 8 day Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival. Melbournites love their horse racing like he British love tea, so we were really pleased to be introduced to the event by some locals. We got all dressed up (fascinator essential for ladies) and as the temperature exceeded thirty degrees, we were relieved to have inside seated tickets. We ended up roughly even on the betting, and just about survived the heat to make it out for dinner afterwards.

Flemington racecourse, with the city in the background

Sunday was moving day, when we left our hotel and set up life in our little studio. The four suitcases that we brought on the plane have magically expanded to several more bags, so we had to order a maxi-taxi to transport us. We then had to go out and buy all the little things that you take for granted in a hotel that we no longer had access to – boring things, like coat hangers and bin liners!

Our temporary home - affectionately known as the beach hut, as it's small but well located!

That brings you all up to date, with just today – my first day at work – to report. All went well on day one, but as it was just a technology induction I think there is a way to go yet! Tom starts work next Monday and then the holiday really will be over.. or will it?

Living the Australian beach life in St Kilda

A slightly colder beach experience!

Tourists hey?!


  1. Looks like SO much fun, I'm seriously jealous. How long are you two committed to be there or planning to be there?

  2. great to receive all your news Katie and Tom will send more when i get my new computer on my daughter julies at moment well done for achieving so much already love Marion and Alan

  3. We're committed for 2 years Amanda - but our Visa's are for four years so you never know...!